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Subject: Just saw Survival Of The Dead rss

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João 'Finding a new way to make you WTF today' Marum
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Oh George, how much you have fallen...
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Jonny Lawless
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My name is Glenn! Long have I carried Cyrus's hopes and dreams, and now I bear the Masamune as well! Henceforth, I claim them as my own! I shall slay the Fiendlord Magus and restore our honor!
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Maybe he'll make good ones again when he's a zombie.
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Leo Zappa
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I didn't even know about this one. For the record, think what you will, but I actually quite liked "Diary of the Dead". Really, no kidding.
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Rob Robinson
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MGBM wrote:
Oh George, how much you have fallen...


At least there are no Horse Falls in it.
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João 'Finding a new way to make you WTF today' Marum
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I think this IMDB review practically sums up what I feel about Romero

Romero's latest zombie-flick "Survival of the Dead" fails on every level. Its most basic problem is simple : It is just not scary at all.

The characters are either too one-dimensional and boring or too overdrawn/cartoon-like for us to care about them, the setting is not believable (even for horror standards) and giant plot holes punch us from scene to scene, never allowing for any tension to build up.

As stupid as this may sound : This is a zombie movie that feels like it has no zombies in it - because they never come off as a threat. Romero's zombies have always been slow and somewhat passive, so in the past he made them deadly and scary by making them many. In "Survival of the Dead", there are no big zombie masses. No places are overrun, no one is hopelessly trapped and almost everyone is fully armed throughout the movie, reducing conflicts with zombies to automated necessities in-between D-grade drama/soap, and even the characters are just bored of the undead : In one scene, a soldier actually rolled his eyes and sighed in frustration before shooting one.

Since there is no "one big lingering threat", most scenes feel randomly connected and the (obvious-by-genre) climax of the zombies finally getting "out of control" seems artificial and forced. Most of the runtime is spent with mindless, pseudo-philosophical subplots about the morals of shooting zombies (!?) and the conflict between the two groups of the island - "pro-zombie-life" and "pro-killing-zombies" if you will (yes, the script is that retarded). The script is way too dumb to be taken seriously, but unfortunately it is neither intentionally nor unintentionally funny.

"Survival of the Dead" does have a few "strong" (read: bearable) scenes, but every time you think Romero is finally on to something good, he inappropriately switches from horror to unfunny slapstick comedy by bending the laws of physics in laughable ways - since i don't like to spoil anything:

Imagine Uwe Boll and the writers/directors from "Home Alone" getting drunk together, then finding a mediocre zombie-script and deliriously deciding to "improve" it by inserting "funny" ideas they got from failing to follow "Tom & Jerry" on TV. If you can create this image in your mind, then you are very close to understanding the indescribable level of unfunny-ness and failure of some of the "trying to be funny by being over-the-top"-scenes. And no: It's not "so bad it's good", it's "so bad you'll feel embarrassed for everyone involved in this picture".

I still think "Survival of the Dead" is marginally less abysmal than "Diary of the Dead", mainly because it is not filmed with hand-held cameras and one of the main characters looks like a chain-smoking, militarized version of Billy Mays - the only awesome element of the film, as everything Billy Mays-related is ****ing awesome! Don't get me wrong, it's still one of the worst movies i have ever seen and nothing compared to Romero's early stuff - but that's exactly what fascinates me, because it gives me a new perspective on his classics:

In a way, movies allow us to take a look into the minds who created them. See one movie of a specific writer/director, and you will probably get the basic idea of what that artist is about - what he's trying to tell the world, what fascinates him, how complex/simple he thinks etc. With every movie you see, your image of that mind gets sharper, and you might gain insight into previous films, as new material sometimes gives you a new perspective on the creator's ideas and thoughts.

Romero used to shoot scary and clever zombie flicks, he is obviously not capable of doing so anymore and he doesn't even seem to understand why his early movies were great - what does that tell us? Probably that he created awesome movies by accident, not by genius. I've seen his movies several times, and with every viewing, with every failed scene, my image of George A. Romero gets sharper and sharper:

It is the sad, depressing image of a simple-minded craftsman who was once mistakenly labeled a "genius" and an "artist", and who now spends his late days desperately trying to re-justify the credit he once received. He bends the logic behind his zombie universe (zombies getting smart, discussions about pro/contra killing zombies) in laughable attempts to find "stunning" revelations about society, he thereby rapes his previous works and still - despite ripping apart everything that he created - the only thing he does is prove the randomness of his earlier success.

It seems quite clear what happened: Since Romero was hyped a genius, he now thinks he has to center his brainless flicks around "philosophical" themes and "clever" takes on society - a thing he cannot pull off, because, as the mediocre B-movie-director that he actually is, he simply doesn't have any interesting insights.

If you watched Romero's pre-millennium-movies and you still have that image of a clever, creative filmmaker in your head: Please avoid his new trilogy at any cost. It won't entertain you, it won't scare you - it will only shift your image of Romero from "artist" to "lucky B-movie-director", and this might ruin his classics for you.
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Leo Zappa
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desertfox2004 wrote:
I didn't even know about this one. For the record, think what you will, but I actually quite liked "Diary of the Dead". Really, no kidding.


OK, let me clarify my position, after Joao's blistering critique of the latest Dead movies, and George Romero in general. What I liked about Diary was the concept - a raw look at the first hours and days of a massive zombie outbreak. Of all of the zombie movies out there, few take a serious look at what the beginnings of an outbreak would look like through the eyes of those experiencing it first hand. I also thought most of the actors turned in credible performances and most of the scenes were not implausible (for a zombie movie, of course). But I do agree that George may not have the edge to carry off the concept to its fullest, which is one of the reasons I am so hopeful for the film adaptation of Max Brooks' "World War Z". At least in "Diary", as opposed to "Land", and apparently "Survival", the outbreak had just happened, so there was none of George's nonsense about zombies "getting smart". They are just mindless killing machines, which is what I think zombies are meant to be - they shouldn't "evolve".
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João 'Finding a new way to make you WTF today' Marum
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desertfox2004 wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
I didn't even know about this one. For the record, think what you will, but I actually quite liked "Diary of the Dead". Really, no kidding.


OK, let me clarify my position, after Joao's blistering critique of the latest Dead movies, and George Romero in general. What I liked about Diary was the concept - a raw look at the first hours and days of a massive zombie outbreak. Of all of the zombie movies out there, few take a serious look at what the beginnings of an outbreak would look like through the eyes of those experiencing it first hand. I also thought most of the actors turned in credible performances and most of the scenes were not implausible (for a zombie movie, of course). But I do agree that George may not have the edge to carry off the concept to its fullest, which is one of the reasons I am so hopeful for the film adaptation of Max Brooks' "World War Z". At least in "Diary", as opposed to "Land", and apparently "Survival", the outbreak had just happened, so there was none of George's nonsense about zombies "getting smart". They are just mindless killing machines, which is what I think zombies are meant to be - they shouldn't "evolve".


Yeah, I enjoyed Diary for that, a look at the first hours of an outbreak. For me Diary is far better than Survival to be honest, I couldn't stand Survival at all. However Diary lacked one essential thing, intensity. There was never really that feeling of lingering menace, of danger. That's what I enjoy about The Walking Dead comics, even when it's not about the zombie the story constantly hints you that they're out there and you're vastly outnumbered and there's nothing much you can do except run and hide. The first issues of TWD portrayed the outbreak in its later stages far better than anything I've seen so far.

Survival is the continuation of Diary though, it even uses some characters of Diary. It simply isn't... good.

Can't wait for TWD pilot episode. The review ain't mine though, it's a review from IMDB that really is a mirror of my opinion of Romero presently.
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Leo Zappa
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Joao - I agree 100% about "The Walking Dead" - it is by far the best representation of what I imagine a zombie outbreak would really look and feel like. I can't wait for the "USA Network" series premiere later this year!
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